Cirque du Soleil goes ‘Ovo’ the top

Corbett has been with Cirque for a year now. Prior to that the former dancer worked for choreographer Matthew Bourne in the United Kingdom, including Bourne’s all male version of “Swan Lake.”

Cirque du Soleil: ‘Ovo’

Through January 2
Atlantic Station
171 17th St.
Atlanta, GA 30363

“We travelled the world and it was an amazing experience,” he says.

Four years ago, though, he knew it was time to go after a career with Cirque. But the quest that would eventually bring him to Atlanta was not a quick journey.

“I submitted my profile on the website as a dancer to begin with but after a year I decided I would be much more suited to artistic direction,” Corbett says. “I went to an event held by Cirque in London and met up with recruiters there who promptly interviewed me and got the ball rolling. Over the next six months I went through a series of phone, Skype and in person interviews. I got very close to getting a position of artistic director for ‘Saltimbanco’ but it was not meant to be.”

A year passed before Corbett was contacted for an artistic assistant role, a job designed to prep candidates to become artistic directors in the future.

“I jumped at the chance as I felt this would be a great way to slowly integrate myself within the company. A few months later I joined ‘Ovo’ and haven’t looked back,” Corbett says.

“I was always interested in working for Cirque as I was very impressed by the way they fused music, theatre, dance, acting and acrobatics into one cohesive product,” he says. “It felt like a natural progression for me as I had been a dancer and actor for many years before.”

‘Life and love’

Being gay in Cirque du Soleil is not a problem, says Corbett, who has been open about his sexuality since joining.

“I think Cirque is a very diverse company and it allows everyone to express themselves without any judgment,” he says. “As for the show it is very diverse without prejudice.”

Corbett has been on the road for much of his career. Though he sometimes yearns for stability, he knows he would be bored with it quickly.

“I have been touring for over 16 years and I love it,” he says.  “The chance to travel and see many different cities, cultures and countries is a luxury. As I am getting older I do sometimes wish for a house and a car and a normal life but I know deep down that I would enjoy that for about a month then get itchy feet and want to get up a go again. I’m a gypsy at heart but in the most fabulous way!”

He hopes that audiences will appreciate the “true family feel” of “Ovo.”

“Children love getting up close with life size insects and the color and musical inspiration of the show is very upbeat,” he says. “It’s a story about life and love. And last but not least the acts are truly amazing.”

“Ovo” boasts more than 50 performers, mostly from Russia and Japan.  As always the sets and costumes are dazzling, but the acrobatic stunts are the calling card.

One segment finds a small army of ants twirling corn and other food on their feet in perfect unison, while another finds a spiderman doing some amazing acts on a razor-thin tightrope. In the show-stopping finale, 20 crickets leap up and down, scaling a wall above them, often intertwining with their fellow crickets.

“Come and see our show. It will not disappoint,” Corbett promises. “Being in a big top is a true Cirque du Soleil experience and one not to be missed.”

Cirque du Soleil visits Atlanta every two years or so, and the crowds are always appreciative, says spokesman Marie-Claude Asselin. In 2012, a new show incorporating Michael Jackson will come to Atlanta, not long after its world premiere in Montreal.

“Ovo,” fittingly, is the 25th production from Cirque in the 25th year of the company.


Top photo: OSA Images Costumes: Liz Vandal © 2009 Cirque du Soleil